The Impact of Smoking & Why It’s So Hard to Quit
According to the World Health Organization, more than 8 million people worldwide die from smoking every year. Smoking has been around for decades, so everyone should be aware of how damaging it can be to your health. Although we know smoking is bad, many people still don’t realize how it impacts the body. Whether you smoke traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, you are consuming an array of harmful chemicals, one of them being nicotine. Nicotine is the agent in cigarettes that make them extremely addictive.
Smoking affects all parts of the body and can cause almost every type of cancer. According to the CDC, smoking increases the risk of death from all causes and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 40%. It also is responsible for 80% of all COPD deaths and 90% of all lung cancer deaths.
When you smoke cigarettes, it harms your blood vessels, making them thick and narrow which makes it increasingly difficult for blood and nutrients to flow throughout the body. Smoking is one of the leading causes of rheumatoid arthritis and coronary heart disease and causes inflammation that leads to decreased function of the immune system.
It also affects the health of the bones, teeth, and gums—even causing tooth loss in some cases. Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts which can cause vision loss and blindness. Smoking can also raise your blood pressure and lower the amount of good cholesterol in your body, leading to the formation of blood clots. It affects reproductive health, decreasing a women’s chances of getting pregnant and decreasing the amount of healthy sperm that a man can produce.
Among all of these statistics, the most shocking (and disappointing) fact is that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US. Millions of people would still be alive today if they would of quit smoking before it was too late, but thankfully, you still have time to make that choice.
Why Is It So Hard to Quit Smoking?
Quitting smoking is extremely hard, some researches report that it is as hard, if not harder, to quit smoking than it is to quit heroin or cocaine. But what makes it so difficult? Nicotine, the addictive agent of smoking, goes into the blood stream and rushes to the brain. It triggers hormones like dopamine and serotonin, causing a pleasant feeling. Smoking is also stimulating as it causes the release of adrenaline, spiking your blood pressure and heart rate. The rise and fall of these hormones are what creates the vicious cycle of a smoking habit.
Nicotine consumption, especially through smoking, can also help people concentrate, so in order to avoid losing focus, they need to keep smoking. Another reason why quitting is so difficult is the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include irritability, increased appetite, insomnia, chronic cough, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. The duration of these symptoms varies based on how long you’ve been smoking and how much you smoke.
If you’re absolutely terrified after reading this, you should be. Smoking is very dangerous to your health and causes a wide array of extremely serious health issues and death. If you are a smoker, try your absolute hardest to quit as soon as possible. If you find yourself quitting and then relapsing immediately, it may be best to try smoking cessation aids like nicotine patches, gum, or inhalers. There are also support groups for people that are in the process of quitting.
Don’t let your urge to smoke get in the way of your dedication to quitting and living a healthier life. If you quit, you can even really benefit your health by greatly reducing the amount and the frequency of your smoking habit. If you would like to learn more about how smoking increases your risk for developing vascular disease, including PAD, visit our website. You can also schedule an appointment with us online if you are concerned about how your smoking habit is damaging your body.
Call 888.773.2193 or click here to schedule an appointment online today.